POLICE are hunting Black Cat fans who clashed with rival supporters during a mass fight in a city centre street.
The brawl erupted outside Revolution, in Low Row, less than an hour before Sunderland kicked off against West Ham at the Stadium of Light last month.
Now, police have released CCTV of fans they believe can help with their inquiries.
The appeal comes after officers yesterday arrested five people on suspicion of violent disorder. Three arrests were made at addresses in Sunderland, one in South Tyneside and one in Chester-le-Street.
The arrests form part of an investigation into the violence on Saturday, January 12, outside the popular drinking venue.
The fight involved both Sunderland and West Ham supporters who are believed to have pre-arranged the meeting.
The Met Police is investigating those West Ham fans suspected of being involved in the clash.
Since the day of the match, police have been working to identify those involved and yesterday made the arrests, as well as releasing the CCTV images of others they hope to trace.
No one is believed to have been seriously injured in the violence, but officers are working to find out how the fans organised the brawl.
In the past, clashes have been arranged over the internet, although this was not believed to be the case this time.
Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, from Northumbria Police, said: “Tens of thousands of people were at that match and the overwhelming majority of football fans were there to support their team and have an enjoyable afternoon out.
“However, anyone taking part in violence or disorder either before, during or after football matches will not be tolerated and this action demonstrates the tough stance we will take on anyone suspected of being involved in such behaviour.
“We’ll continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety of football fans and the rest of the general public.”
Northumbria Police has a specialised unit which aims to track football hooligans who pre-arrange fights with rival supporters.
Fans’ forums and social networking sites have, in the past, been used to arrange clashes.
Now, police are appealing to Echo readers to help identify those involved.
Chf Supt Blyth added: “Behaviour such as this will not be tolerated and, by working alongside us, fans can help us to prevent those involved from attending matches. I’d appeal for the help of the public to identify those people in the images who we need to trace and speak to about the disorder which took place before the match.”
•Anyone who recognises themselves in the images is asked to contact police at the earliest opportunity. Anyone who knows the identify of anyone in the pictures should contact police on 101 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
•Some images have now been withdrawn at the request of police